May 5, 2004
Albany- The Georgia High School Association girls state track meet returns to Albany's Hugh Mills Stadium Thursday.
One of the battles to watch this weekend is the one waged between Monroe and Westover for the AAA team title.
The Lady Tornadoes have won three state team titles but finished second to Westover in the region meet last week.
One Lady Patriot looking for a big weekend is Westover's Lakecia Ealey.
Ealey, who signed with the University of Florida two weeks ago, is the girl to beat in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes.
Catching Ealey will not be easy since her times in both events are the fastest of any female sprinter in the state in any classification.
Ealey's success on the track is the result of hard work.
Last year she finished third in the AAA 200m behind Northeast Macon's Stephanie Smith and Monroe's Shaquite Draper.
Last week, Ealey beat Draper in the region 200 meter dash with a time of 23.9, just a tenth of a second off Stephanie Smith's winning time in last year's meet.
Ealey said "My freshman year was rocky but in my sophomore year and I did the 400 (meter dash) and that was my first year doing the 400 and I finished second to Stephanie Smith (4-time state champion) I was like okay I can do this and I have been on top ever since."
Monroe is hoping they have enough in the other events to overtake Westover and other challengers to the triple-a team title.
The Lady Tornadoes title run began with back to back AAAA championships in 2001 and 2002 and the AAA team title last year.
Besides Westover, coach Octavia Jones is expecting quite a battle from Carrollton and Northeast Macon who no longer have Stephanie Smith but still have a formidable team.
The Lady Tornadoes say they have put their second place region finish behind them and are ready for what they believe will be their toughest battle on the track in the last four years.
Rashunda Luster said "Alot of teams are gunning for us, Carrollton, Westover. We know, we understand those things but we are not going to let those other teams bring us down, pull us down. We are going to come up, we are going build up and pull out of this thing once again being state champions hopefully."
The preliminaries for the track events for the top three classification and the finals for the mile run(A, AA and AAA) and two mile run (AAAA and AAAAA) are Thursday night, the finals in the field events are Friday with A and AA preliminaries and finals in mile run (AAAA and AAAAA) and two mile run (A, AA and AAA) are Friday night and the finals in the rest of the track events are Saturday afternoon.
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